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Self-Assembly of the Bio-Surfactant Aescin in Solution: A Small-Angle X-ray Scattering and Fluorescence Study

Dargel, Carina; Geisler, Ramsia; Hannappel, Yvonne; Kemker, Isabell; Sewald, Norbert; Hellweg, Thomas

Colloids and Interfaces, 2019, vol 3, 2, pp. 47



This work investigates the temperature-dependent micelle formation as well as the micellar structure of the saponin aescin. The critical micelle concentration ( cmc ) of aescin is determined from the concentration-dependent autofluorescence (AF) of aescin. Values between cmcaescin,AF (10°C) = 0.38 ± 0.09 mM and cmcaescin,AF (50°C) = 0.32 ± 0.13 mM were obtained. The significance of this method is verified by tensiometry measurements. The value determined from this method is within the experimental error identical with values obtained from autofluorescence ( cmcaescin,T(WP) (23°C) = 0.33 ± 0.02 mM). The structure of the aescin micelles was investigated by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) at 10 and 40°C. At low temperature, the aescin micelles are rod-like, whereas at high temperature the structure is ellipsoidal. The radii of gyration were determined to ≈31 Å (rods) and ≈21 Å (ellipsoid). The rod-like shape of the aescin micelles at low temperature was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). All investigations were performed at a constant pH of 7.4, because the acidic aescin has the ability to lower the pH value in aqueous solution.

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